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Hartson upset by Celtic quit claims

John Hartson still feels let down by Celtic after denying he has been trying to leave the club for months.

The striker's agent Jonathan Barnett released a joint statement with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell in which both men insisted Hartson sought permission to speak to interested clubs before the end of last season.

Hartson stressed that, following heart-to-heart talks with both Lawwell and Gordon Strachan, he had made up his mind to stay at Celtic despite the breakdown of his marriage.

Hartson told the Daily Record: 'Everybody knows my personal situation was complicated for a while. It still is.

'But by the time we sat down for those talks at the end of the season things had become much more settled and straightforward.

'During the discussions with Gordon Strachan, Peter Lawwell and my agent, we decided I was staying.'

Hartson claims he was looking forward to spending a final year at Celtic, and would consider his options for the future in summer 2007.

He added: 'That's why I feel let down with what has happened in the last few days and it's especially sore given that I have enormous respect for the manager, the chief executive and the board of directors.

'I'm not interested in getting involved in a slanging match with the people at Celtic. I have too much respect for them.

'All I'm doing here is stating facts - and the fact is this has been done behind my back.'

The former Arsenal, West Ham and Wimbledon frontman said: 'I just wish that I wasn't still sitting here three days on having not received a single phone call from anyone at Celtic to inform me what is going on.

'I'm not trying to be smart or score points - I'm just genuinely sad that it has come to this.'

Celtic are closing in on the signing of former Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune after he underwent a medical yesterday, but the future of Neil Lennon is in doubt.

The 34-year-old looked set to sign a new deal but the latest signs are not too encouraging.

'I think the phrase 'talks are ongoing' probably applies,' said Lennon.

'The club and I spoke a while ago about a one-year extension to my contract but as yet we've not agreed anything.

'I'm not totally happy about it, to be honest, though at Celtic I've learned that these things can take time. I certainly hope we can reach an agreement.'